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michael89156

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: December 07, 2012, 12:12:22 AM



NFL opponents adjusting to Tampa Bay Bucs' offense

 By Joe Smith, Times Staff Writer
 In Print: Friday, December 7, 2012



Doug Martin, left, celebrating a touchdown with Erik Lorig, has had diminishing yardage during a two-game losing streak.


TAMPA

A few weeks ago, the Bucs offense was one of the hottest in the league.

Running back Doug Martin was the talk of the NFL with highlight-reel runs. Receivers Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson dazzled with deep routes. Quarterback Josh Freeman continued to be the Comeback Kid, pulling off an overtime win at Carolina.

In Games 5-10 Tampa Bay went 5-1, averaging 34 points.

But as Williams said, their opponents "watch film, too." And Atlanta and Denver made adjustments that slowed Tampa Bay (6-6) in a two-game losing streak.

Martin has seen more defenders in the box, as he's averaged just 2.3 yards per carry in the past two games. Williams has noticed two safeties playing deep to protect the long pass. As a result, the Bucs have averaged 11 fewer points and more than a 100 fewer yards per game than that six-game stretch.

In the NFL's weekly chess match, it's Tampa Bay's move.

"It boils down to continuing to evaluate what we have shown (and) the frequency with which we have shown it," offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. "Are we putting ourselves in a situation where we are predictable? The concepts and ideas how often are we able to keep them fresh and rotate them through and yet still try to give enough answers to the quarterback.

"There have been some setbacks. There have been some disappointments, but we as a group are definitely focused on the improvement and have a plan of attack on how we want it right this second."

To coach Greg Schiano, opponents' strategic changes are only part of the issue; it's a combination of coaching, executing and circumstance.

"Some plays we've made by a shoestring in the three previous weeks, (opponents are) making by a shoestring right now," Schiano said. "Maybe we have to finish a little harder. Maybe someone is finishing a little harder than we have. Maybe we've got to call a little better play. There's a whole bunch of stuff that comes into it."

The same could be said for the ground game. Martin, a 1,000-yard rusher in the first 10 games, has 106 in the past two.

"It's been a rough couple weeks," he said.

The first-round pick insists he hasn't hit a rookie wall, saying he feels great physically and mentally. Sullivan sees Martin getting stronger and "right on track."

Sullivan pointed out that in Sunday's loss against Denver, which has one of the league's best defenses, Martin had 15 carries for 48 yards in the first half. But when the Bucs fell behind 28-10 in the third quarter, they had to pass more; Martin had just three carries in the final two quarters.

"I feel like we get in the positions where we have to start throwing and it takes Doug out of the game," Williams said. "Because we have to throw and get points quick, we can't run the ball. But if we're in the game early, we can keep feeding Doug and that's how our offense seems to succeed."

Martin said he just has to take what the defense gives, and that the whole group needs to pay attention to the details. That's what the Bucs did this week in practice, focusing on fundamentals and working in pads more.

"We've had two very spirited and well-executed practices this week," Freeman said. "And I know that everybody has got the right mentality going forward. We know we have to do things that have got us this far."



Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@tampabay.com.



>>fast facts

By the numbers


The Bucs offense has been slowed down the past couple weeks after a sizzling stretch that made it one of the most explosive in the league.

Games 5-10                                                   Games 11-12

34.1                            Point per game                   23

431.5                         Yards per game                  316

154.1 per game         Rushing yards                     57.5  per game                                     

NotDeadYet

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#1 : December 07, 2012, 11:59:20 AM

   Those who don't adjust don't (or shouldn't) stay employed for long in the NFL. It's a constant chess match; no "system" will work all the time without adjustments...

BucBalla85

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#2 : December 07, 2012, 12:32:28 PM

Its also just playing against tougher and smarter teams. They had opportunities to win those games or make the plays to put the team in position to win. They just didnt make the plays and the other team did.

Feel Real Good

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#3 : December 07, 2012, 01:00:18 PM

Martin has seen more defenders in the box, as he's averaged just 2.3 yards per carry in the past two games. Williams has noticed two safeties playing deep to protect the long pass.

I'm confused. Are opponents putting more players up close or deep? Seems like they shouldn't be able to do both at the same time.

FRG is the most logical poster on this board.  You guys just don\'t like where the logical conclusions take you.

BucBalla85

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#4 : December 07, 2012, 01:12:12 PM

Martin has seen more defenders in the box, as he's averaged just 2.3 yards per carry in the past two games. Williams has noticed two safeties playing deep to protect the long pass.

I'm confused. Are opponents putting more players up close or deep? Seems like they shouldn't be able to do both at the same time.

I think nothings really changed except we are playing better teams. They just need something to write.

Feel Real Good

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#5 : December 07, 2012, 01:56:57 PM

Martin has seen more defenders in the box, as he's averaged just 2.3 yards per carry in the past two games. Williams has noticed two safeties playing deep to protect the long pass.

I'm confused. Are opponents putting more players up close or deep? Seems like they shouldn't be able to do both at the same time.

I think nothings really changed except we are playing better teams. They just need something to write.
These are seemingly quotes from players, not writers making stuff up.

FRG is the most logical poster on this board.  You guys just don\'t like where the logical conclusions take you.

BucBalla85

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#6 : December 07, 2012, 02:14:16 PM

Martin has seen more defenders in the box, as he's averaged just 2.3 yards per carry in the past two games. Williams has noticed two safeties playing deep to protect the long pass.

I'm confused. Are opponents putting more players up close or deep? Seems like they shouldn't be able to do both at the same time.

I think nothings really changed except we are playing better teams. They just need something to write.
These are seemingly quotes from players, not writers making stuff up.

Yea I guess your right. Maybe teams are doing a solid job mixing that up. I just feel like its player speak still. They had opportunities to make plays in both losses that could have changed the outcomes to the games. Those were plays where it was on our guys. Not the defense.

Feel Real Good

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#7 : December 07, 2012, 02:22:17 PM

Martin has seen more defenders in the box, as he's averaged just 2.3 yards per carry in the past two games. Williams has noticed two safeties playing deep to protect the long pass.

I'm confused. Are opponents putting more players up close or deep? Seems like they shouldn't be able to do both at the same time.

I think nothings really changed except we are playing better teams. They just need something to write.
These are seemingly quotes from players, not writers making stuff up.

Yea I guess your right. Maybe teams are doing a solid job mixing that up. I just feel like its player speak still. They had opportunities to make plays in both losses that could have changed the outcomes to the games. Those were plays where it was on our guys. Not the defense.
I'm not an expert, but I'd think if Doug Martin is saying there are extra players in the box and Vincent Jackson is saying there are extra players playing deep, and we know teams can't put enough players on the field to do this all at the same time, than the opponents know what is coming on each play and the coaches aren't doing enough to mix things up and exploit favorable match ups.

FRG is the most logical poster on this board.  You guys just don\'t like where the logical conclusions take you.

Biggs3535

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#8 : December 07, 2012, 03:06:29 PM

Martin has seen more defenders in the box, as he's averaged just 2.3 yards per carry in the past two games. Williams has noticed two safeties playing deep to protect the long pass.

I'm confused. Are opponents putting more players up close or deep? Seems like they shouldn't be able to do both at the same time.

I think nothings really changed except we are playing better teams.

Agreed.  On one of Martin's long runs vs. Oakland, there were nine guys in the box.  The difference was the OL did a better job blocking on that play than they have in recent games.

I haven't seen many defenses doing anything "different".  What I have seen is the OL not playing as well and that's affected the play of the QB and RB.
: December 07, 2012, 03:08:12 PM Biggs3535


BucBalla85

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#9 : December 07, 2012, 03:11:36 PM

Martin has seen more defenders in the box, as he's averaged just 2.3 yards per carry in the past two games. Williams has noticed two safeties playing deep to protect the long pass.

I'm confused. Are opponents putting more players up close or deep? Seems like they shouldn't be able to do both at the same time.

I think nothings really changed except we are playing better teams. They just need something to write.
These are seemingly quotes from players, not writers making stuff up.

Yea I guess your right. Maybe teams are doing a solid job mixing that up. I just feel like its player speak still. They had opportunities to make plays in both losses that could have changed the outcomes to the games. Those were plays where it was on our guys. Not the defense.
I'm not an expert, but I'd think if Doug Martin is saying there are extra players in the box and Vincent Jackson is saying there are extra players playing deep, and we know teams can't put enough players on the field to do this all at the same time, than the opponents know what is coming on each play and the coaches aren't doing enough to mix things up and exploit favorable match ups.

I think your right the adjustments and play calling has been off. Or feels that way. I think part of what your talking about is on Freeman/coaches not making adjustments (like you said) and the other part is on the defenses just being better than what we have seen.

Feel Real Good

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#10 : December 07, 2012, 03:14:38 PM

Martin has seen more defenders in the box, as he's averaged just 2.3 yards per carry in the past two games. Williams has noticed two safeties playing deep to protect the long pass.

I'm confused. Are opponents putting more players up close or deep? Seems like they shouldn't be able to do both at the same time.

I think nothings really changed except we are playing better teams.

Agreed.  On one of Martin's long runs vs. Oakland, there were nine guys in the box.  The difference was the OL did a better job blocking on that play than they have in recent games.

I haven't seen many defenses doing anything "different".  What I have seen is the OL not playing as well and that's affected the play of the QB and RB.
People think that stacked lines are tough to run against, but that's often how you get big runs. If you make one guy miss or he runs himself out of the play, there's no one behind to clean things up.

FRG is the most logical poster on this board.  You guys just don\'t like where the logical conclusions take you.

BucsnNoles

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#11 : December 07, 2012, 03:18:11 PM

Martin has seen more defenders in the box, as he's averaged just 2.3 yards per carry in the past two games. Williams has noticed two safeties playing deep to protect the long pass.

I'm confused. Are opponents putting more players up close or deep? Seems like they shouldn't be able to do both at the same time.
That's where I stopped reading.
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